Logosm.gif (1927 bytes)
navlinks.gif (4688 bytes)
Hruler04.gif (5511 bytes)

Back to DC Sports and Entertainment Commission main page

DC Fiscal Policy Institute 
Sports Economists Say Large Public Subsidies for a DC Soccer Stadium “Cannot Be Justified” on Economic Development Grounds
June 10, 2008




Dorothy Brizill
Bonnie Cain
Jim Dougherty
Gary Imhoff
Phil Mendelson
Mark David Richards
Sandra Seegars


DCWatch Archives
Council Period 12
Council Period 13
Council Period 14

Election 1998
Election 2000
Election 2002

Election 2004
Election 2006

Government and People
Anacostia Waterfront Corporation
Boards and Com
Campaign Finance
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Management Officer
City Council
Control Board
Corporation Counsel
DC Agenda
Elections and Ethics
Fire Department
FOI Officers
Inspector General
Housing and Community Dev.
Human Services
Mayor's Office
Mental Health
Motor Vehicles
Neighborhood Action
National Capital Revitalization Corp.
Planning and Econ. Dev.
Planning, Office of
Police Department
Property Management
Public Advocate
Public Libraries
Public Schools
Public Service Commission
Public Works
Regional Mobility Panel
Sports and Entertainment Com.
Taxi Commission
Telephone Directory
University of DC
Water and Sewer Administration
Youth Rehabilitation Services
Zoning Commission

Issues in DC Politics

Budget issues
DC Flag
DC General, PBC
Gun issues
Health issues
Housing initiatives
Mayor’s mansion
Public Benefit Corporation
Regional Mobility
Reservation 13
Tax Rev Comm
Term limits repeal
Voting rights, statehood
Williams’s Fundraising Scandals


Appleseed Center
Cardozo Shaw Neigh.Assoc.
Committee of 100
Fed of Citizens Assocs
League of Women Voters
Parents United
Shaw Coalition



What Is DCWatch?

themail archives

Press release on this report

Sports Economists Say Large Public Subsidies for a DC Soccer Stadium “Cannot be Justified” on Economic Development Grounds

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

(Washington, DC) – The proposal being considered to offer $150 million or more in DC taxpayer funds to subsidize a new soccer stadium “will not generate notable economic or fiscal benefits for the city” – that’s the assessment of 26 economists from across the nation who signed a joint statement.

“Most studies find that new sports stadiums do not increase employment or incomes and sometimes have a modest negative effect on local economies,” the signatories noted. Although the new facility “may shift some entertainment spending from the Maryland and Virginia suburbs to the District,” this outcome is not likely to justify the outlay of tax dollars.

Dr. Brad Humphreys, an economist at the University of Alberta who has studied the economic impacts of numerous sports stadiums, explained that “a soccer stadium that is used just 20-30 times per year cannot realistically be expected to be a driver of economic development.”  Humphreys also noted that sports stadiums don’t tend to increase the amount people spend regionally on entertainment, and will not lead to higher employment or income.  His research even finds that stadiums can be a drain on local economies, in part because team players often take their salaries and spend them elsewhere.

Finally, Humphreys noted, the stadium is listed as optional in plans for Poplar Point prepared by the master developer.  This suggests that a stadium is not critical to the multi-year development of Poplar Point and may even displace more desirable development, such as housing, retail, or green space.   

Doubts from economists about the impact of a DC soccer stadium echo the concerns of DC residents – who polls show oppose public stadium financing – as well as those raised by a number of area newspapers and non-profit organizations.

“If DC is facing a windfall in tax collections from the baseball stadium, it would be far better to pay off the baseball debt faster or to  invest in important public services that residents really care about – housing, libraries and parks, education, and the environment,” said Ed Lazere, Director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI).

“Public financing of a soccer stadium gets us farther away, not closer, to the realization of a revitalized and unpolluted Anacostia waterfront,” said Chris Weiss, an advocate with Friends of the Earth (FOE). “It’s simply ridiculous that we spend money we don’t have on a soccer stadium that a vast body of research suggests will not generate notable economic benefits for District residents.”

Back to top of page

Send mail with questions or comments to webmaster@dcwatch.com
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)